Artist Ann Rea
Touring Mondavi's To Kalon Vineyard
[caption id="attachment_1338" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Ann Rea, Cheryl Copham, and Dave Copham"]Ann Rea, Cheryl Copham and Dave Copham[/caption] This Friday afternoon I stood with the winners of the my Experience of Art & Wine from the Naples Winter Wine Festival. Tom and Cheryl Copham and I smiled for the camera as we enjoyed our first toast in Robert Mondavi’s famed To Kalon Vineyard in Oakville, CA. The Cophams  won auction lot #14 that included my Experience of Art & Wine, and other amazing donations from my patrons Sandi & Tom Moran, Meadowood Napa Valley, The French Laundryand Michael Chiarello, to name a few. It was a perfect afternoon.  The light was as clear and crisp as the first sip of wine that we enjoyed that afternoon. I liked the Cophams when I “met” them on the phone.  And I liked them even better in person.  I’m always inspired by the stories of successful entrepreneurs like Dave. And I was heartened to find Tom and Cheryl to be warm and down to earth, like many of my fellow Midwesterner friends. Jani DiCarlo of Robert Mondavi ToKalon Circle guided us through To Kalon Vineyard revealing the different facets of the terroir.  The afternoon light slowly saturated the tops of the vines as we discovered the golden California poppies, the big old oak tree hugging the stream, and the crazy looking cork tree, the rose bushes ending the rows, and finally the garden where Robert Mondavi himself used to love to entertain. I know that the Cophams must be curious about what and where I will be painting the series of To Kalon Vineyard but the truth is I just don’t know.  When I return to To Kalon Vineyard I’ll respond to and then study in oil paint what calls me.  And what that will be could be one thing one day and another the next day.  It’s very personal. It’s simply an inexplicable creative response that only thrives when I release control by thinking too much about it. When I honor my creative impulses my paintings tend to call to viewers.  They have a sense of what I felt blended with what they feel. Art is so very personal for the artist and for the viewer. In the words of Tim Mondavi, "That’s how the best art, and the best wine, are created – from the heart."
Creating Art with Meaning
[caption id="attachment_751" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="San Francisco based Artist & CEO"]San Francisco based Artist & CEO[/caption] I prefer to create art with meaning.  What does that mean?  It means that I have purposely created a commissioned based art business.  So I don’t just create for my own pleasure or creative curiosity, I create to serve the particular interests of a patron. Immediately the question that I get is, “Is your creative process compromised?”  The answer is, “No, it’s even more inspired.” Why?  Because when I create a series it’s for a particular person or couple and the subject of the series has meaning to them.  Serving them gives my work energy and even more purpose.  And trust me, I don’t accept commissions that will interfere with the creative process.  This is very well guarded. Just like a chef.  I’ll prepare the meal for my guests but they must stay out of my kitchen. The fact that my patrons tour the landscape with me has meaning to both of us.  We will always share that experience. When I post to my patron’s dedicated online dairy I report on the progress of their series, I reveal my decisions, the weekly happenings, and inspirations along my creative path. My patrons preview all of the field studies I’ve created. Then with my guidance they choose the one that will serve as the basis for their large-scale custom sized painting.  Because the final painting requires their input, it has more meaning. And my patron’s signed storybook chronicles their Experience of Art & Wine.  The meaning that cannot be found anywhere else is that my patrons can recount the time of our first meeting to the creative journey that led the painting on their wall.   Their painting will always hold meaning.  So beyond my artistic expression it’s that meaning and memory that I want to create.
Painting in Film
[caption id="attachment_751" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="San Francisco based Artist & CEO"]San Francisco based Artist & CEO[/caption] Last month I sat with my new advisory board at our first quarterly meeting explaining an Experience of Art & Wine, my new unique and limited offering. Essentially, my patrons choose their favorite wine and we join each other for a vineyard tour. Later, I return and capture the colors of the terroir in oils on canvas with a dozen or more field studies painted in and of the vineyard. Week-by-week my patrons witness the creative process by way of a dedicated online diary at They choose one of the field studies from the series and I reinterpret it on a larger canvas, sized to their liking. I deliver the finished painting with a beautiful signed storyboard chronicling the artful experience. This way they can revisit inspired memories. My advisory board and I realized that this is a lot to explain.  I knew I needed a creative solution. So I reached out to my good friend Paul Maurby at Vintank and he introduced me to a local award winning film making talent, Bret Lyman. Bret has arrived back in his hometown of Napa with his family after time spent in NYC and Los Angeles. Bret’s agreed to paint my Experience of Art & Wine in film as I create his painting.  I’m really excited to work with Bret. His composition is strikingly familiar. It's very similar to mine!  And he understands light as color.  That’s very important, this is the subject of my artistic attention. I’m happy to have creative company that can paint in film and sound, paint what I can only start to explain in words.  You know what they say; “talking about music is dancing about architecture.”